Monthly Archives: August 2008

Gardenias for memory

Our wedding anniversary is only a few weeks away, and I wanted to celebrate it via the olfactory. That doesn’t sound very romantic does it? Let me explain. We decided to semi-abscond and have our wedding in Hawaii on the Big Island. I wasn’t too concerned about formalities or pomp, but I did want to take advantage of one of the Islands resources… flowers.  I had leis made for all our wedding guests, and special leis for my mothers, my father in law and Eric and myself. I had a Haku (floral head dress) made from gardenias and a lei made from pikake (also known in the Philippines as Sampagita). Eric’s groom’s lei was made from fragrant maile leaves. And I had special leis made for our parents in plumeria and tuberose.

We were surrounded by the loving fragrances of Hawaiian flowers as we were married, and days later the leis still blessed us with these fragrances in our room as we retired from enjoying our day on the Island.

I’m a strong believer in the power of scent over memory. Perhaps that’s why I try to relive pleasant events in my life by associating them with scents. I’ve discovered that It’s a bit spendy to recreate the pikake and plumeria leis, but I did buy a small gardenia plant, and it sits right next to me on my desk. For the next few weeks. Right now two of the flowers are in bloom and my office is filled with the gorgeous and intoxicating fragrance.

My gardenia

My gardenia

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Someone STOLE our gas!

Or at least they tried to! Someone popped open our gas tank last night and tried to steal our gas. Joke was… we only had about 1/8 a tank…! I guess they tried down the street as well because they couldn’t get much from ours. IDJIIIOTS! For security purposes we’re thinking of installing a web cam with a motion sensor outside of the house. Or rearranging the garage so we can fit the car in it.

Theft of gasoline?  I guess that’s to be expected I suppose with the economy the way it is. Thanks…”The MAN!?” and they who shall not be named.  No, there’s no problem with the economy right now… we’re doing great!  Shure it doesn’t matter to you when you own more than three houses and don’t have to worry about the gas mileage your car gets, or worst choose between paying for gas and feeding your family.

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Escaping the Heat

The View - Cove at Cape Disappointment

The View - Cove at Cape Disappointment

As I write this, the day after our beach trip, storm clouds are forming above us.  So my pleas for relief have been heard. There’s something completely unnatural about living in a hot climate. But I suppose someone who grew up in the Arizona desert might beg to differ. The overly moisturized environment of the Pacific Northwest might seem a bit soggy to them.

How does one escape 104 degree weather? We do what any normal Portlander does… flee to the coast. This time we made our way up to Astoria and the Long Beach area up to Cape Disappointment. Ahhhh… it was a cool 65 degrees, and you could see the mist rolling over the tree tops.

Sandy Pug Butt

Sandy Pug Butt

The dogs (Otto, Kirby and Pono – Pono is Kirby’s brother) had a glorious time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Otto most ecstatic and content. The cove by the lighthouse was pretty secluded and there was a steep trek down. Consequently, it’s not visited by too many people. So we felt pretty good about just letting the dogs run about. It’s quite problematic having chihuahuas on the beach with other dogs, because they’re so tiny and uppity. We worry about them getting into a deadly tussle with a much larger dog.

I was still feeling out of sorts from the heat from the last few days. The night before our beach trip, I got absolutely no sleep. I awoke feeling hungover, without having experienced the booze fun the night before, so I didn’t get much knitting done on the beach. On the way there, I did work on my Lace Ribbon Scarf (ala Knitty.com) with the very delicious Tantra silk from Art Fibers. If I was sharp enough, I would have taken a picture of the scarf on the driftwood. Art Fibers just does an absolutely amazing job with their coloring and variegation in their dye jobs. It’s worth, not being able to predict the colors exactly from their website photos. Each time I get a color I’m more than pleasantly surprised. As I look over the beach photos, the colors from this scarf seem very reminiscent of the colors I experienced on the coast that day. What a lovely coincidence.

Lace Ribbon Scarf in Art Fibers Tantra

Lace Ribbon Scarf in Art Fibers Tantra

As I lay on the beach trying to rehydrate my body and being, I did work on another Amigurumi creature, a mischievous monkey. Simple crochet in a spiral seemed to be soothing to work on.  I’ll post the photos up on this item later.

Our friend, Emily experimented with some stop-action animation with her camera.  She, Chad and Ryan worked together to shoot a short, short feature starring various beach paraphernalia and dead creatures (crab shells and Jelly fish).  It was quite interesting to watch all of them get involved in the creative process, each of them contributing ideas and direction. You can see the results here: Mysterious Beach.

Collecting materials for the movie set

Collecting materials for the movie set

Chihuahua brothers enjoy the beach

Chihuahua brothers enjoy the beach

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Crafting an amigurumi menagerie

Happy little guys on the couch

Happy little guys on the couch

I’ve been making Amigurumi (Japanese Crochet Dolls) animals lately.  I was able to crank out two over the week-end. Actually, I’m scheduled to teach a course on the subject at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop, so I’ve been busily crocheting away.  In the process, I’ve discovered that I really like the fact that you can sculpt so many shapes with single crochet. All of the dolls, I’m sharing here are based on a common design from a Japanese pamphlet book.  However, I adjusted the body parts and to create different animals.

Alfie the Amigurumi Chihuahua

Alfie the Amigurumi Chihuahua

Amigurumi Rabbit - unnamed as of 8/12/08

Amigurumi Rabbit - Mortimer (named by Jeremy)

I’m currently finishing up a third doll, an elephant. The ears were an interesting little sub project. I realize now that I should take better notes while I’m designing these things. I’ve discovered that with crochet, I need to actually work the design out by hand before I can start writing things down.  For the ears on this elephant, I experimented with adding two flaps to a short chain of single crochet… the first attempt looked too much like butterfly wing that I ended up frogging it.

I’ve also discovered that I like working with mercerized cotton yarn better than 100% wool to make these toys. I suspect that a good sturdy acrylic yarn would also make a good choice for these types of project.

Amigurumi Elephant without the eyes

Amigurumi Elephant without the eyes

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Getting back into my Delorean

At knit night last week, I really tried give an adequate description of the lileks.com site. I have sort of an odyssey back through fashion and time when ever I look at the lileks website. It’s true that much of the stuff here comes from way before my time, but I still enjoy the trip. This site houses one of my most favorite kitsch visuals on the web:

The Grooviest Motel in Wisconsin.

You need to click through the entire site, as you get a ‘walking tour’ of this fabulous hotel (which no longer exists). It looks like an architectural nightmare. I can picture indoor astroturf and red shag carpet. So many beautiful things came out of this era… and so many terribly ugly things too. It seems that this was really a time when people were experimenting with style. Is it me, or have we only been re-hashing styles and reliving nostalgia for the past two decades? Maybe the unique elements of fashion are as imperceptible as the impact of history to contemporary individuals.

Were havin Big Hair

We're havin' "Big Hair"

I sometimes think that the Old Navy and “That Seventies Show” together brought back some of the seventies fashion. And just fading from the limelight (hopefully) has been the obsession with the Eighties. I noticed that despite this ‘dip into the past,’ people are still being selective about what the bring back. Fortunately, there’s been no resurgence of ‘bell bottom’ pants or tidal wave bangs. On the other hand, all these people who adore 80’s music revivals seem to listen only the crap top 40’s. There’s no accounting for taste. Perhaps people want to embrace the vacuous and vapid culture of the 80’s because it’s as good an escape as anything else. Perhaps the nation’s young adults are regressing into their childhood because with the impending doom of failed economies and global warming there’s little else where they can run but to the past.

I barely remember the early to mid seventies, my memories include this polyester pantsuit my mother wore that had the following colors in it (avocado green, mustard yellow, and orange-red). I used to call it her “Del Monte brand” outfit. I also remember the old Betty Crocker Cookbook we had (in a ring binder). I think I tore out the page with the space cupcakes by accident. You could see my greasy little finger prints all over the page, all evidence of my obsessive pleading to make them. My mother, wasn’t much of a cook back then you see, plus she was incredibly health conscious so making cakes and cookies was almost always out of the question.

Famolare Shoes - the ones I had looked like loafers with the wavy soles.

Famolare Shoes - the ones I had looked like loafers with the wavy soles.

My other memories of the 70’s include Famolare shoes, culottes in rusty orange corduroy, page boy haircuts for boys, satin roller derby jackets, the old blue Bel Air my dad used to drive, Holly Hobby and “Love Is…” posters, Jaime Lee Curtis, and Magic Rocks and Sea Monkeys. I don’t think we ever owned a circular bed or had a patch of shag carpet in our house. I’m assuming my mother probably immediately saw that as a dust magnet and allergy hazard.

Still sometimes when I look back into my childhood, I find it reassuring. Perhaps it’s because all those old things seem fresh and new again. It’s as if I was looking at them with the eyes of youth.

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Special Sweater

Saranac Body

Saranac Body

Two sleeves on a long circular needle using the Magic Loop method.

Two sleeves on a long circular needle using the "Magic Loop" method.

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So my husband… has been so wonderful working on our kitchen. I’ve discovered that he’s been quite a whiz at the DIY. The other day, my anxiety went up when he was working on the electrical, not because I don’t have faith in him, but because even when you take precautions… WORKING ON THAT STUFF CAN BE DEADLY. I stood by watching and wary with the cell phone handy just in case.

So I’m making him a special sweater just because he’s been so terrific. It’s the least I could do. He’s not big into cable or aran sweaters, so I had to pick a fairly simple and comfortable pattern.

I’m doing an altered version of the Saranac from Knitty.com in Knit PIcks Comfy yarn. No open collar because he’s just not that kind of guy. I’ll probaby join the sleeves at the yoke using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s instructions in Knitting Around.

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Friday funny – How to properly use the toilet

I just have to wonder…. wha…..?  I guess some people are purely visual.

Is it me or is the picture on the top right… correct for a guy?

I most especially like the guy fishing in the toilet. Obviously he saw that old Carol Burnett Spoof, “Jowls.” Check it out below. I remember watching this skit as wee kid and dying of laughter. I think I had an asthma attack.  I love, love, love the Carol Burnett Show. I cried and cried when I saw the last episode.

From the ReadWriteNow blog:

How to properly use the toilet

How to properly use the toilet

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgbEkPU0wgg]

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